Let me begin this post by asking a question – how many of you have said something like “I can’t lose weight because I’m big boned!”
If you hold your hand up and say “I have” then the chances are you have been attacked by memes.
A meme is something that Richard Brodie describes as
The word meme is believed to have been derived from the word “mimic”, which means to observe and copy behaviour. Once copied, this behaviour is passed on to other people, and then the process repeats endlessly.
One key factor is that the transmission of an idea, a belief or an attitude to other people happens through mental process.
Memes cannot be found by peering through a microscope even if the magnification is turned up to the maximum level. They pass from mind to mind by imitation, thousands of times.
We receive so many of these by the ages of six or seven that they could truthfully be described as viral in nature.
Memes are not always bad, nor are they always good, but they are spread simply and easily!
When a meme arrives in your mind it will, without doubt, influence the way in which you behave. It could be said that “My meme’s made me do it!” much in the same way that we say “I can’t help it, it’s in my genes!
Memes have been passed on for years and they often become the building blocks of the mind. To quote Dr
Dyer from his book Excuses Begone Wayne
“Every excuse we read about in this book is, in reality, a meme that was once planted in your mind.”
To take the analogy of memes behaving as viruses a stage further, the sole purpose of a virus is to make as many copies of itself as possible. It achieves this by finding an opening in the mind and spreading to as many hosts as possible.
We play host to thousands of memes; they are the inbuilt characteristics and thoughts of your personality, so much so that you begin to believe that they are who you are.
It often seems that if you try to get rid of them you are removing some of your life energy.
Often memes are passed on via our parents or grandparents and since these ideas become fixed in our minds they become our reality – lasting our whole life.
If you grew up in the 1940s or 1950s, or your parents grew up during those post war years, times were hard! Generally the thinking was of lack and scarcity. There were shortages everywhere; food was in minimal supply; there was a culture of “don’t waste anything”; eat everything on you plates and people did not have enough money.
Unwittingly, these ideas were passed on to the children who mimicked the “scarcity” behaviour and they spread the same ideas wherever they went.
I was infected with the “scarcity” meme and it still surfaces from time to time. In the light of my work I now believe that I have passed that very same meme onto my own daughters.
To a large extent I have overcome the adverse effect of that meme. However, I do still believe that the meme carries a valuable lesson that can prove very effective, even in the comparatively affluent 21st Century.
Do you sometimes find yourself behaving in a childlike manner when things don’t go the way you want them to?
Do you stomp around because you can’t get your own way?
Do you raise your voice if you can’t find something – even though there is nobody there to hear you?
If you have said yes to one or all of those questions then it is very likely that you have been infected by at least one meme.
You probably saw a relative (or person of influence) behaving that way and you mimicked their pattern(s) which was the way the meme embedded itself.
So now you can probably see that there must be thousands of replicated and imitated thoughts that have been absorbed through contact with different individuals over time.
However, all is not lost!
If you find that the memes that have joined you are serving you well, there is no need to do anything about them. Conversely, if they are causing you consternation then the simple answer is to change your thinking habits.
To quote Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius “our life is what our thoughts make it”
For further information about changing your thoughts I suggest that you look at the following books by Dr Wayne Dyer.
The first is entitled “Exuses Begone” (which has been the reference book for this piece) and the second is “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life!”
NB. No financial rewards or incentives have been given or received to facilitate the writing of this particular post.
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About Dave I am a coach; speaker; radio presenter and founder of The Blue Sky Company. I am also a therapist and co-own a virtual light centre called The Crystal Spring. My therapy work includes music therapy; crystal therapy and I am currently studying a course on Colour Therapy.
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